Revelation 14-16, Psalm 45
Last year a woman came to see me for an initial visit. She had not been to a gynecologist for 21 years when her son was born. When I examined her and was about to do her PAP smear it was obvious by visual inspection alone that she had a large, advanced cervical cancer. When I told her, before her biopsy was back, she was shocked not understanding how this could be. This week I examined a woman in her mid thirties who lives a promiscuous lifestyle. She came in because of pain. On examination it was obvious she had Herpes. Though the bloodwork is pending, she was shocked when I told her this, wondering how this could be. Not infrequently I tell women who are either having extramarital relationships or are having relations outside of marriage who come into my office that they are pregnant and their response is always shock, not understanding how this is possible. These are examples in the field of medicine, but people like to live their lives for today in complete opposition to the ways of God and wonder why God is so unfair. Though God warns them in His Word, along with so many other ways (Romans 1), people choose to remain ignorant to His ways then scream injustice when they are not blessed. The book of Revelation may seem scary, but we see God pulling out all the stops to gain the attention of those in rebellion to bring them to their knees and to repent before the final judgment falls.
We read in Revelation 14:9-11, "Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, "If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name." Jesus in the gospels spoke 3x more about hell than heaven, not wanting anyone to wind up there. Realize before this point when God dispatches His three angels: one speaking the gospel and focusing on God as Creator, the second preaching the upcoming doom on the world system, and the third one as we read above proclaiming everlasting damnation on all those who choose to worship the beast, he has already sent the 2 witnesses, the 144,000 marked evangelists, along with countless tribulation saints to warn the people. God is not an unfair judge, but is extremely loving and patient not wanting anyone to perish (2 Peter 3:9). As the warnings continue, and the extent of God's wrath on the earth intensifies, unfortunately, we continue to see the response of many in Revelation 16:9, "And men were scorched with great heat, and they blasphemed the name of God who has power over these plagues; and they did not repent and give Him glory," This phrase is also echoed in verses 11 and 21. God's judgment is righteous because man's stubbornness is so unyielding. God has done everything He can to save mankind while respecting man's free will. Jesus died for the people. Nothing that God does seems to bring most people to repentance, so we continue in this book where being destroyed and eternity in hell is the only available option for the majority of people.
In the beginning of Revelation we read that this book is the only one attached with a blessing to those who read it, in 1:3, "Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near." This book should open the eyes of those who read it. Now, it seems like there are so many options available, yet God knows there are only two: saved and unsaved. There is really no gray areas in God's judgment. During the time of Revelation, it will become more apparent, there will be only two options: Christ and Antichrist. A choice must be made now, and then. Now, people would rather spend their time apart from God following any lifestyle that they choose, preferring a life apart from God. Yet most apart from a true relationship with God feel they will be in heaven when they die because they are basically good. Who wouldn't choose heaven at that time when the only other alternative is hell. It doesn't work that way, the choice must be made while we are alive. If we don't choose Him now, we don't get to choose Him after we die (Hebrews 9:27). Realize Jesus is our Good Shepherd. We are all prone to wander. A shepherd will break the leg of a sheep who is prone to wander and carry the lamb on his shoulders while the bone is healing. When the bone is healed that sheep will be attached to that shepherd forever. Likewise, our Good Shepherd will allow hardships to occur in our lives to bring us to our knees and bring us into a true relationship with the only One with the power to save, Jesus Christ. As we continue in the book of Revelation may we continue to see God as this loving Father doing whatever is necessary to save His people, rather than a God of wrath pouring out His judgments spitefully or uncaringly or angrily, nothing could be further from the truth.
Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley: